Top 5 challenges modern manufacturers face (and their solutions)

Entrepreneurs of all sizes face daily obstacles in their journey and manufacturers are no exception. The difficulties brought by the pandemic, political changes, and climate shifts are all contributing to a challenging landscape for product-making businesses. However, the manufacturing sector remains optimistic, expecting good conditions for growth throughout 2022, according to a recent survey conducted by makeuk.org.

In this article we discuss the main five challenges faced by modern manufacturing businesses and how entrepreneurs in the industry can overcome them in order to thrive.

  1. Skilled labor shortage

No matter the specific industry, manufacturers across all sectors find it difficult to attract skilled workers. This is mainly due to the fact that millennials aren’t specifically interested in building a career within manufacturing, while older workers are retiring. 

The solution to this problem is an aggressive approach to offer appealing employment packages  to the younger generation, scholarships, educational programs, or partnerships with community colleges – all designed to overcome the skilled labor gap.

  1. Inventory management

By far, the biggest challenge manufacturers face is tracking stock effectively, from raw material  to finished goods. Especially during the growth stage, factories find it increasingly more difficult to keep track of inventory and production processes, across various warehouses.

The solution lies in adopting the right manufacturing software to help automate inventory management and schedule production to overhaul the third party fulfillment rate. This will enable manufacturers to focus on their product and growing their business, instead of wasting time manually dealing with these management processes.

  1. Machinery maintenance 

Any manufacturing business must ensure the proper and effective functioning of machinery and equipment, including overheads management. 

Following the recommendation from the previous point, manufacturing software can also help with planning maintenance during the least busy production times, getting real time alerts, and identifying bottlenecks.

  1. Selling directly to consumers

The rise of the direct-to-consumer trend is unquestionable. The model is appealing to manufacturers, as it enables them to cut the middleman, improve their margins, and stay in direct touch with their customers. People’s preference for online shopping is pushing more product-making businesses to start selling online, too. Unfortunately, there’s a risk associated with this model.

Selling direct-to-consumers means that the manufacturer has to handle the entire process from production and supply chain management, to marketing, selling, shipping, and delivery. The solution is to streamline production and effectively manage multiple sales channels with the use of digital tools, such as multichannel sales and inventory management systems, that integrate with business essentials such as e-commerce platforms, accounting software, or shipping apps.

  1. Scaling

Growing your business is any entrepreneur’s dream. But growing doesn’t only mean revenue. It also means growing your team, investing in more machinery, refined processes, strategy, and so on. This is known as scaling a business, and if not done properly it can hinder a prosperous future. 

Before deciding to scale, it’s important to look at your audience, analyze the market space you’re in, and perfect the production processes. Then, conduct thorough market research on the new areas you plan to expand into, whether it’s a new region or a different customer segment.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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